Archived News Item

Mercy School Wins Biodiversity Award

Damascus College sustainability coordinator David Neate and year 12 student Claire Roberts at the Murnong Trail.


8 December 2017


Congratulations to Damascus College Ballarat who were awarded the ‘Biodiversity Secondary School of the Year’ at the Victorian Government’s ResourceSmart Schools Awards in Melbourne on Friday 11th November. This ResourceSmart program helps schools take action on climate change and incorporate sustainable activities into school curriculum.


The College received the award for the development of the Damascus College Murnong Trail, which is an 800 metre biodiversity trail that winds through the bushland of the fifty acre Damascus College site. This trail was developed to increase the school community’s awareness of the bountiful bushland and to ensure its conservation. The trail will be used as a resource across several disciplines in the College including Science and Humanities. The Murnong Daisy was discovered in the bushland and due to its rarity and the significance it has for the Wadawurrong people, the trail was named in honour of this humble plant.


Murnong was the staple food crop for the indigenous peoples across south eastern Australia, and was especially noted by early European explorers such as Major Mitchell for its abundance in the grasslands of Western Victoria. It has disappeared over much of its former range as a result of livestock grazing and the development of exotic pastures and crops.


As a Catholic school in the Mercy tradition, Damascus College encourages in its faith development programme an attitude of stewardship of the environment, and this is put into practice in several ongoing conservation projects around Ballarat as part of the College’s Christian Personal Development Award.


The Year of Mercy, with its call to hear “the cry of the poor and the cry of the Earth”, has brought renewed focus on the stewardship of nature, not just for what it can give the College, but for its intrinsic worth. The humble Murnong daisy is a resilient symbol of the rich biodiversity that was on the College campus before the gold rush, and of the agricultural husbandry of the land by the traditional owners.


Damascus College is proud to have received this award which brings recognition of all of these things.


Messages to:
Matthew Byrne – Principal